Our View From Up Here

Monday, December 16, 2013

The elf is still on the move!

Mark's got a hot date tonight! 
Last night he snuck into the cookie jar and snatched an oreo!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I thought I should do a year-end Christmas-type letter...

Me... I am going on 4 years as an RN at Sanford Cardiovascular Institute. I work about 36 hours per week and love my patients! I have a lot of independence and like what I do. Some other highlights of the year include getting the braces off my teeth and losing weight. I joined the Beachbody company and through exercise and a protein shake, I've lost 30 pounds and kept it off :)  I also have been going to an on-line school pursuing my Bachelor's degree in nursing. I live a crazy life, and I'm always running behind, but it is what it is.
Greg... He has been with the flight team at Sanford for over two years now, working as a paramedic on both the helicopter and airplane. He's very humble, but I think he's pretty awesome and I am proud of him every day. With our crazy family life, he decided to take on all night shifts, so he can pick up Kyla from school every day. He works 3 twelve hour shifts per week. He has been able to pick up a lot of my slack since I've started school- housework and cooking. He's great! I also got him sucked into Beachbody and he's lost some weight through exercise and through us cooking more healthy as a family.
Kyla... She started Pre-K this year at Christian Center Elementary and she participates in their before-school daycare a couple days per week. She is really smart and has enjoyed the challenges. She went through a shy phase this year, but is starting to become more social lately. Either way, she has always made friends easily with kids her age and is a pretty well-behaved 4-year-old. At home, she enjoys doing crafts, playing outside, and going for bike rides to the park. I almost forgot!!-- she learned to ride bike without training wheels this summer- right before she turned 4.
Nolan... He's two. Need I say more? ;) I worried about his speech earlier this year, as he hardly spoke any words. But, this summer those worries came to an end. He is a chatter box speaking in full sentences now. I think he's a typical little boy... likes to play rough and doesn't like to sleep in his own bed... He goes to an in-home daycare three days per week and has started to participate in the preschool curriculum and projects (he's so proud of his projects!). He also loves the outdoors, even when it's freezing cold.
Mason... The Mason Dog turned 6 this year. His days consist of being tortured by Nolan and sleeping. He's such a good little dog. He misses going for walks since it has been so blasted cold lately. His nights consist of cuddling in Kyla's bed.

We enjoyed a few camping trips this summer in our little pop-up. We really enjoy going to Lake Pahoja and Newton Hills. Also, we took a family vacation to Des Moines, Pella and Omaha this summer. We went to the Iowa State Fair (which me and Greg have always enjoyed), we spent some time in Pella and then went to the Omaha Zoo too.
We made a couple more trips to Pella unexpectedly. We were able to say our "good-byes" to our dear friend Nick as he lay in the hospital, then we went back a few days later for his funeral. What a blessing it was that we were able to have dinner with him just a few weeks earlier during our vacation. And what a blessing to have great friends surrounding us!
For Christmas this year, we're excited to drive to Montana to spend a week with all of Greg's family. Hoping the kids behave for the long car ride, but it will be so great to spend time there.
Greg and I are also excited for our cruise coming up in late February. We're going with our good friends, Paul and Emily. With the frigid cold temps outside, it can't come soon enough!

That pretty much sums up our year. We are hoping everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Mark is enjoying some hot chocolate and marshmallows tonight. Ready to see the kids in the morning!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Press On

As my blogging mood has changed from being in a depressive state to bringing laughter and cheer from my kids, I thought about deleting some of my old posts.  I got a lot of ridicule for my past posts, with, perhaps some of the most memorable words being "delete your blog and buy a notebook."
But, I didn't.
If something told me to blog, I did.  It felt good at the time for some of my feelings to be out in the open, when I had no one to really listen.
Now I am being showed why I kept typing away through all my troubles and turmoil.  I have received private messages that say:
"just read your blog! I love it! you completely open your feelings and talk about your struggles...thank you for sharing...especially the 2010 picture one...makes me think about my faith, my family, and friends"
and "read part of your blog about misery... I feel that is exactly what I'm going through right now. Made me feel better knowing that other people have those feelings and are doing so great later. thank you for your honesty."

It brings tears to my eyes when I consider the struggles I had, and some that I still do have.  Obviously, my parent's divorce is one of the major factors, as well as the death of two good friends, and other tragic losses of nearby communities.
It also moves me that I might be helping others through their struggles, or at least showing them that it will be okay in the end.
The circumstance can vary, but, depression happens.  Sometimes acutely, sometimes chronically. All I have to say is: do whatcha gotta do to (healthily) get through it.

This brings me to one of my favorite bible verses:
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."   
Philippians 3:12-14

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Good night Mark

Mark is ready for bed and so am I!

The adventures of Mark

The kids are still having fun with Mark (our elf). Even Nolan is getting into it now... "Where MARK?" All of our family and friends have been asking Kyla about it, and she's usually not afraid to explain who he is and what his job is and where he's hiding that day.
Yesterday morning, he delivered a gift to both Kyla and Nolan because they've been being good and even stayed in their bed all night! He picked these bags up from the North Pole.
Here's what was in their gift bags... a writing tablet and a foam letter.

And this is what happens when a guy gets involved with the Elf on a Shelf. Greg build him a hang glider last night!
Greg and I might be having as much fun as the kids  ;)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I was all excited about "elf on a shelf". It's fun, creative, and magical!
While my kids were out to a movie with my mom, I planted the elf and his book on top of our TV stand. The kids got home and after a couple hours passed, no one noticed. So, finally I said "where'd that elf and book come from?!!" Kyla asked if I bought it, I said "No." (I lied).
We read the book, and as instructed, Kyla gave him a name-- "Mark." I don't know where she got that name from, but our Elf's name is Mark.
We continued to read, and when we got to the part about he Elf being able to fly to the North Pole she started crying. I was confused. Then she said, "if we touch him, he comes to life??!!"
She slightly miss understood some of the story, but it dawned on me that she had visions of this creepy little elf wandering around our house. My sister put it best, "like a Christmas version of Chucky."  Hahaha!
I reassured Kyla that he only can move when everyone is sleeping. Then I reiterated that all kids have to be good, because "Mark" reports back to the North Pole every night to tell Santa if you've been naught or nice.
Then came a bazillion questions, like how he got in the house, how he gets to the North Pole, how he can see us when we're in the kitchen, how he can talk to Santa, why he's so small, how he makes the toys...
I think she likes Mark after all. Today, he hid in the ceiling fan and we didn't experience any tears.
As for Nolan, I don't think he gives a hoot about a stupid elf in our house!
Click here for a video of Kyla discussing the elf!

The Dreaded Question

Tonight, the question was asked. The question that I knew would come from my daughter, but I have been dreading for nearly three years.

"If Gramma is your mom and Papa is your dad, then why don't they live together?"
The question came out of no where, but the answer came easy, "They used to be married, but now they're not."
And then came an, almost more complicated, question, "And now Papa is married to Jean?"
I wasn't going to lie,"Papa and Jean are not married."
"Then why do they live together?"
"Because sometimes people do things, even if it doesn't make God happy. But, we just need to pray about it."
"We pray for them to get married?"
I thought for just a second, then said.... "Yes, I think that would make God and mommy happy."